CHAMWE KAIRA

Skorpion Zinc in the !Karas Region has started the process to start refining zinc imported from South Africa at its plant at Rosh Pinah.

Vedanta Zinc International, the mother company of Skorpion Zinc plans to modify its refinery at Rosh Pinah to enable the treatment of zinc sulphide concentrate, which the company intends to transport from sister company, Black Mountain Mining’s Gamsberg Zinc, and Lead Mine in the Northern Cape, South Africa. Skorpion Zinc has been processing local zinc only since it opened in 2003 but now plans refining imported zinc as well.

Skorpion Zinc is now proposing an Environmental Social Impact Assessment over the proposed project that involves the transportation of zinc sulphide (ZnS) concentrate from the Oranjemund border to the refinery operated by Skorpion Zinc.

Documents released as part of the Environmental Social Impact Assessment reveal that concentrate of zinc sulphide will be transported into Namibia via the Oranjemund border to the Namzinc refinery, a of 105 kilometres. About 314 000 tonnes per annum of zinc concentrate is proposed to be trucked via interlink trucks.

According to the documents, the potential social impacts are anticipated to be of low significance, and these include minor disruption to the residents along the Oranjemund to the refinery route and some increase in noise levels arising from vehicle use.

“Namzinc (Skorpion Zinc) proposes to transport the concentrate of zinc as such they will operate the programme, manage the contractors and ensure that norms of health, safety and environment are met. Namzinc intends to transport zinc sulphide concentrate, which would promote and increase the operations and lifespan of Skorpion Zinc, contributing to the national and local economies as well as for skill transfer to locals,” the company said.

Vedanta acquired Skorpion Zinc as part of the acquisition of Anglo American’s zinc business in 2011. The mine has invested significantly since Vedanta took over, to extend the life of the pit and explore for mines in the nearby areas, with over US$1,6 billion invested including US$25 million on exploration alone.

According to the 2019 Annual Report of the Chamber of Mines of Namibia, zinc production at Skorpion Zinc increased by 12% from 65,993 tonnes in 2018 to 67,925 tonnes in 2019.